Five bidders vying for NAIA takeover

Five companies have already signified their intention to take over the operations and management or O&M of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA a few weeks after the Department of Transportation or DoTr opened the bidding for the P170.6-billion project.

In a text message to the Daily Tribune on Wednesday, the DoTr confirmed that five potential bidders have bought bid documents for the project.

As of 13 September, the interested companies include San Miguel Corp. or SMC, Spark 888 Management, Inc., and Asian Airport Consortium.

Two others who submitted bids — Manila International Airport Consortium or MIAC and GMR Group — have previously vied for the NAIA rehabilitation.

MIAC is composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Alliance Global – Infracorp Development, Inc., Filinvest Development Corporation, and JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corporation along with Global Infrastructure Partners.

In 2018, the government awarded the Original Proponent Status for the NAIA rehabilitation to a “super-consortium” formed by seven of the country’s biggest conglomerates: Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation; Filinvest Development Corporation; and JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. It was, however, terminated.

Thus, Megawide Construction Corp. and partner GMR Infrastructure Ltd. also submitted an unsolicited proposal to upgrade and rehabilitate the highly congested NAIA.

Despite the substantial progress, the much-needed NAIA rehabilitation was back to square one after the previous administration also rejected the proposal.

According to the MIAA, the Megawide consortium failed to convince the government of its financial ability to support the project.

Meanwhile, the SMC., an Asian conglomerate led by businessman Ramon S. Ang, is currently taking on the P740-billion New Manila International Airport in Bulacan.

Award out by December

Previously, the DoTr conveyed that the contract may be awarded to the winning bidder as early as December if the government stays on schedule.

The National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved the solicited bid to privatize the operations of NAIA.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the project will help address the long-standing issues at the country’s main air hub such as congestion and limited aircraft movements that usually cause inconvenience to passengers.

The DoTr and the Manila International Airport Authority submitted a joint proposal to the NEDA Board to privatize the operations and management of NAIA within 15 years.

The project is expected to improve the overall passenger experience and increase the current annual passenger capacity of NAIA to at least 62 million from the current 32 million.

Previously, Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista floated the possibility of closing down the airport—only if nearby airports become operational.

Bautista explained that the government can have the option to close NAIA if airports in adjacent provinces like Cavite and Bulacan are ready to accommodate the travel-hungry tourists in the country—both local and international.

“If there will be new airports, then the government can decide to close the Manila International Airport or MIA because it can be a valuable government asset. On the other hand, it is possible to continue its operations because of its prime location in the Metro,” Bautista told reporters.

“So yes, it is possible to close, it is also possible not to close MIA,” he added.

Bautista also assured that in case the airport continues its operations, SMC’s Bulacan Airport can still drive up profits despite the competition.

The same is true when the $11-billion Sangley Point International Airport in Cavite starts operations, he said.

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